Round three feels like it was a million years ago. We’re really trying to capitalize and use the two weeks between our lives being put on hold so we crammed months worth of activities into the past few weeks.
The actual round was the same as round 2. 20% bump and all. Nausea holds strong during the nighttime and morning hours- but a diet of orange chicken from Panda Express and chicken salad from Lisa’s helps keep it at bay during the day (mike jokes that I’m oddly like a third trimester pregnant person- nausea & cravings – only I don’t get a baby out of all of this. I get my hair back instead). And the insomnia (currently penning this beauty of a blog post at 230AM). My bone pain remains one of my worst symptoms, Claritin & Tylenol & a heating pad seem to dull it a bit- but let’sbereal it still hurts to even have clothing touch it for the first few days.
Mike ditched me and the ladies mid-chemo week this round for a much needed ski trip (the role of caregiver is impossibly hard and that man needed a break from all of us). So my friend leslie came and stayed with us the whole time he was gone. Between her & my friends & family we made it through with little to no drama… although we woke leslie up at 5am every morning. I rewarded her with donuts so we’re even (nope not even close).
I tried working out earlier this time. By Tuesday after getting unhooked I was back at the gym where I made it through half of one of my favorite classes before I felt like blacking out. Rumor has it my bodies already working hard and then working out hard on top of it seems to send my heart rate a little too high.
By Wednesday of that first week we were on our way to mammoth. It took me days to acclimate to the altitude. Walking up the stairs was a chore. But fear not- we still managed to get the decks shoveled (your welcome dad!), see lex ski, and watch k really get to play in the snow. It’s the first time we’ve been up there since she’s been walking and she freaking loved it. The snow is incredible. I’ve never seen it packed so high in front of our house. And it turned out to be such an amazing and much needed family trip.
We drove home Saturday. Because Sunday mike & I rode in a little thing called cycle for survival. I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s an event that’s put on by my gym (equinox) and MSK to raise money for rare cancer research. My friends and I had plans to ride in it before my diagnosis. But after being disagnosed WITH a rare cancer it made it all the more special. Our team kicked some major ass and raised over $29,000 for rare cancer researsch that will be conducted in the next SIX MONTHS. and the event as a whole across the country raised $33 million. It took on a whole new meaning when we found out that memorial Sloan Kettering has used money raised in past years to fund research on my exact diagnosis & treatment plan. So words can’t even express my thank you to everyone who donated and helped us out. I HATE that anyone has to go through this- but I’d rather be going through this now versus even 5 years ago when my chance of radiation at the end was high because my chemo regimin hadnt been dialed in yet.
Week 3 was glorious. I was BACK. Our lives were normal. Schedules and mike at work have never felt so good. And k didn’t cry through swim class. I took the ladies to Disneyland for a half day! it felt SO. DAMN. GOOD. We celebrated lex’s birthday at terranea. And she was the happiest little girl EVER. It was k’s birthday, and then we potty trained her. So lex was in need of some eyes all on HER. And I think we delivered her the perfect birthday weekend. Filled with mani-pedis, a surprise weekend at her favorite resort, more swimming than she can handle, and lots of family time. Friday we spent the night as a family. Saturday we had my parents come to pick up k so we could hang solo with lex. And Sunday we went home and hosted a party for the extended family in her honor. She never stopped smiling.
And then I started round 4. Complete with crying to my chemo nurse (totally normal right?) because I just don’t want to do it anymore. Being normal and feeling good- well it felt good. I’m definitely over the whole chemo thing. And REALLY over the whole cancer thing. The emotional side of it has really started to sink in. I pride myself on being fairly strong emotionally- but it’s a lot to handle mentally knowing what being hooked up to my chemo pump will bring. I just crave my normal life again. I wanted to punch anyone who told me I was half way there! Only three more rounds when I long for this to be in my rear view mirror and to have mermaid hair feels like an eternity.
Some of the other side effects I didn’t exactly realize have started to set in. I always thought it was “chemo skinny” and that I’d be heading into summer ready for that swimsuit. No dice for me. Instead the heavy dose of steroids I’m on, paired with a less than stellar diet, and hardly any workouts has me not recognizing my body. While I’ve technically only gained 5lbs it looks like I’ve gained 10-15. It seems silly and trivial to be worried about my body image while literally fighting for my life. But I worked so hard over the past year for a body i was (starting) to be proud of only to get cancer. Pair that with being bald and i hardly recognize myself in the mirror anymore!
Another side effect that gets tested is friendships. I have truly learned a lot about the people in my life through all of this. The good, the bad, the great. Nothing like waging a 6 month battle to strengthen or destroy a few relationships. Most of my friendships have been strengthened.i have friends who reach out daily, who I’m learning genuinely care (who I stopped lying to and saying “I’m fine” when shit actually sucks), the people who put their lives on hold to drive me to and from chemo. The ones who take time off work to come and stay with me to give mike a break. But it’s hard not to become just the “friend with cancer”. It’s interesting to see who’s dropped off (probably because they don’t know what to say. I get it. Everyone has busy lives. I hold this against no one), and who’s stepped up in ways I never thought I needed. The people who distract me with talk of when the small shops drop their kids clothing lines (which is a very important topic for me!), the ones who’s post pictures of me circa 2003 on my Facebook timeline (for the love please don’t post any more of me as a blonde), and all the cards I keep getting, the ones who drop by with ice cream (or 3lb bags of Swedish fish). It takes a freaking tribe.
And I’ll leave you with one last side effect that started. My beloved eye lashes and brows have taken a turn for the sparse. Let’s just say I’m learning more about makeup than I ever dreamed. You tube makeup tutorials rock.
If you’ve made it this far. I’m currently giving you a standing ovation. And you probably want the last 20 minutes of your life back.